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By Hugh C. S. Ferguson

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Rather, his History provides accurate data to serve the interpretations of readers in the future. Thucydides is more than a simple materialist, for he understands the impact of ideas upon events. [25] Thucydides includes speeches in his History (despite the fact that he cannot even pretend to have more than general sources for them) at least in part because they dramatize the degree to which a subject’s position shapes perception. Thucydides’ scientific realism had an enormous impact upon his practice as a historian.

Twain makes it clear that procedural realism is important because it lends a text greater credibility. Thucydides even turns the difficult and quirky nature of his text to his own advantage. Readers may find the history slow going or at times somewhat dry in comparison to Homer or (presumably) the unnamed Herodotus, but only because Thucydides has subjected himself to strict intellectual discipline and refused to compromise truth for charm. If Thucydides loses readers in the present, the greater purity of his account will nevertheless strengthen his case in the long run: The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content.

18. Sherman 1984, 2: 125–126. 19. The most recent biography of Sherman, Marszalek 1993, bears the subtitle A Soldier’s Passion for Order. 20. Sherman 1984, 2: 126. 21. Sherman 1984, 2: 127. 22. For the triad, war of total populations, against total populations, and for total stakes, see Morgenthau 1948, 289–301. 23. Sherman 1984, 2: 120. 24. Sherman 1984, 2: 128. 25. Sherman 1984, 2: 129. 26. Sherman 1984, 2: 128. 27. Orwin 1994. 28. So Marszalek (1993, 306), who cites as evidence for this Glatthaar 1985.

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